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Modnews Of The Week! Volcano Telegraph weekly edition

#1 User is offline   IconOfEvi 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:33 PM



Greetings, fellow Conquerer's! Starting today, I, IconOfEvi will attempt to bring you a weekly or so column on Command & Conquer news.

So what makes this different from the many many news columns (nearly all of them very fine by the way) out there devoted to CNC?

Here, we will focus very much on MODS and mod teams in general. Also, as for the news, I will try to give some of my as well as other's INSIGHT into what the news MEANS. We'll try our hardest to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. From the same old blah blah blah, the same old tidbits, we can try to decipher what it all means. I'll also do my utmost to get you INTERVIEWS with prominent Command & Conquerer's, asking questions that matter (and silly ones that still possibly might). And who knows where this will lead? Will you see Aaron 'Apoc' Kaufman or maybe Jim Vasella of EALA on these hallowed pages?

Time will tell.

Inside, you will find the following:

- RED ALERT 3 news and interpretations of media!

- An MMO from a company you know!

- Unusual, and epic mod news!

- An INTERVIEW with a certain prominent mod team leader.

Click here to read it all!
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#2 User is offline   IconOfEvi 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:34 PM



Greetings, fellow Conquerer's! Starting today, I, IconOfEvi will attempt to bring you a weekly or so column on Command & Conquer news.

A note before we begin - all opinions stated, unless stated explicitly otherwise, are those of IconOfEvi himself, and not those of Derelict Studios as a whole.

So what makes this different from the many many news columns (nearly all of them very fine by the way) out there devoted to CNC?

Here, we will focus very much on MODS and mod teams in general. Also, as for the news, I will try to give some of my as well as other's INSIGHT into what the news MEANS. We'll try our hardest to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. From the same old blah blah blah, the same old tidbits, we can try to decipher what it all means. I'll also do my utmost to get you INTERVIEWS with prominent Command & Conquerer's, asking questions that matter (and silly ones that still possibly might). And who knows where this will lead? Will you see Aaron 'Apoc' Kaufman or maybe Jim Vasella of EALA on these hallowed pages?

Time will tell.

Anyways, ONWARDS!

RED ALERT 3 NEWS

Red Alert 3 Site Relaunched! - http://www.ea.com/redalert/index.jsp

Looks like EALA relaunched the Red Alert 3 website! Now there is a whole lot of info to be found on there, in addition to a very wub.gif rehearsal of the May Day parade in Moscow. Those lucky...developers. I want to see Tu-160 Blackjacks and T-90's <sad>. Damn Phoib and his Russian queen and grrr grumble grumble...


New Artworks and Screenshots reveal Design Impressions -

Prominent artworks revealed so far may have inadvertently shown the direction and play styles of the three factions.


Firstly, it seems the Allied Aircraft Carrier is making its comeback (take note of burning Kirov!),


and it seems like (unless I'm very mistaken) it launches four or so of these Allied Attack Drones.
A part of the Allied design concept - robotics and technology?


It seems the Soviets have a Dreadnought-like ship as their long-range bombardment ship again. So is this the end of the RA1 Missile Sub's concept, or maybe I'm just interpreting this wrong?

Also of note is the water based building system. If there is one thing that I think many of us are looking forward to, it is the seamless water and land bases system. Here, it seems the Allies built a Naval Yard, Construction Yard, Power Plant, and two missile turrets of some kind.


IFV is making a comeback! This one looks pretty smexy! (UH OH, NEARLY NAKED GIRL SIGHTED)


Tesla Coil counter? Or Grand Cannon v2?


CAN, YOU, HANDLE, EYE LASERS?!?!

Japanese King Oni mechas mixing it up with some Soviet Hammer (the tanks with the barrel and rocket pod) and Sickle units (the spider like mechs). Haha, Hammer and Sickle.

Form your own conclusions, but honestly, I wasn't aware EA formed a partnership with a certain Japanese TV franchise...

UNIT LISTS
Familiar units that will be making a unit are as I could find them so far:

QUOTE
# V4 Rocket Launcher (ed. - new generation for a new game methinks)
# Kirov Airship
# Terror Drone
# Dreadnaught
# Ore Collector
# MCV
# Apocalypse Tank
# Tesla Trooper
# Combat Engineer (ed. - Soviets updated him with a gun I guess?)
# MiG Fighter
# Conscript

(ed. - I think the Attack Dog got sidelined in favor of the War Bear)


QUOTE
# Aircraft Carrier
# Attack Dog
# MCV
# Mirage Tank
# Dolphin
# Spy
# Engineer
# Tanya


Other than that, we wouldn't be able to really recognize any new units shown on the screenshots. Though judging from screenshots, some iconic units like the Kirov are staying in the game and staying totally the way they were, and some like the Apocalypse Tank, are getting a facelift.

Of also particular note is that The Empire of The Rising Sun is also working by the Construction Yard system, as they have an MCV as one of their units. So what will be the way they build differently from the Allies and Soviets?

Time will tell.


ODDBALL NEWS

Petroglyph Studios has recently formed a partnership with TrueGames Interactive! If you recall, Petroglyph was formed from the people who decided to quit instead of move to California to EA Pacific (later to become EA Los Angeles) in the big studio merger. TrueGames states they are made of numerous MMO veterans.

blink.gif

Oh look! An interview with Joe Bostic!

An MMO from Petro? Who'da thunk?


MOD NEWS


Of PARTICULAR notice, Nyerguds, LONGTIME modder and unexaustable worker on the original Tiberian Dawn, has come up with the latest yet version of his new toy - the C&C95 High Resolution Patch! And yes, thats right, instead of modifying the other files like the old patch, this one just tweaks the C&C95 Config File!

Whats that? You wanted C&C95? Why here you go - the GDI and Nod discs (in ISO form), courtesy of EALA.

GDI ISO (FileFront)
Nod ISO (FileFront)
At Gamespot

Need Halp Running It In XP? Why didn't you ask?!
C&C Gold XP Patch (also can be had from PlanetCNC)

I think we can declare Nyerguds King Of C&C now, no?


TAKTICS Map Competition

Red Alert 2 to Super Mario Bros. Total Conversion TAKTICS is holding a mapping competition - download the modified version of Final Alert 2 and the data files and get cranking some good maps today!

(YOU DON'T NEED RED ALERT 2 TO PARTICIPATE! Just follow the instructions)

(Note, you won't be able to PLAY with the map yet until the demo rolls around)

I hear there's a reward for the more maps successfully submitted ohmy.gif.


INTERVIEW

Wha, did you expect me to leave you empty handed like that? I wouldn't do that to you guys :3. So before I saw adieu, I leave you all with an INTERVIEW I conducted with Chronojam (!) of the CNC Renegade-to-Red Alert TC A Path Beyond



QUOTE
<IconOfEvi>Firstly Chronojam, before we begin, introduce yourself and your mod.
<Chronojam> I'm the current lead producer of Red Alert: A Path Beyond, a standalone game built off the original Renegade engine. We aim to capture all the glory of the original Red Alert (and its expansions) in a first-and-third-person perspective. Personally, I've been involved with this for quite a few years now, but I've also been around the general C&C community for even longer.


<IconOfEvi> Now, I understand that originally the team was lead by Dante?...followed by Aircraftkiller. How did you get the spot? What did you do before?
<Chronojam> So yes, there's been quite some history indeed behind this project, with a lot of different ideas about how it should be. A lot of people don't know how I got involved and just assume I've been there always. Actually, I joined the team to do assorted tasks and provide certain insight. The major role was to assemble map overheads, composite images of all the original maps, each into their own png.

So I basically looked through those maps, gave an analysis of them, and put them up (I still periodically do this). I'd toss in my ever-plentiful ideas about both how we could be more like Red Alert since I've got a pretty vast understanding of the game (it got me into modding) and how we could make it just plain more fun.

Eventually I got to the position of working on the forum, then being the admin, then maintaining the site in general, and eventually calling the shots for the W3D version of the mod after it was cancelled and then revived.

And now, here I am.


<IconOfEvi> As the community may have noticed, you pretty much pump out weekly blogs - how difficult (or easy?) is it to assemble that much material weekly?
<Chronojam> Writing is something of a passion for me, so getting the actual words down is enjoyable whether or not anybody ends up reading them. Some speculated that beginning the blogs was a dark omen, but honestly it's actually something beneficial. It gives us a drive, it gives me a drive, to have something to say.

Some weeks we don't have time to do much, or don't have time to do the writing, but in that case I always like to see if we have something more to say for next week.

It allows us to have a pretty good degree of transparency, instead of people being constantly in the dark. And it's a chance to talk about more than just cut-and-dry "here's the latest tank" in terms of updates; we can talk about what's on our minds, give it a personal touch, and discuss things that don't fit into a typical game update sort of posting.


<IconOfEvi> I remember there was once going to be an effort to put A Path Beyond to Battlefield 2 after the next version of Renegade's release. Dead?
<Chronojam> I have no real desire to own Battlefield 2 or develop for it. We did some investigation into its tools and limitations and how we'd feel about it; and really, at the time, not enough of us could even actually play the damned thing. I actually still can't on my own PC but that's beside the point. The Battlefield 2 project is completely dead.


<IconOfEvi> Now for the last...two(?) releases, A Path Beyond has been running standalone. Was this a difficult feat for you guys or no?
<Chronojam> The decision itself to be standalone was a natural one. We could reach a wider audience, and do more. I believe it was Dante's decision to make it install on its own originally, but that was just a first step.

To handle supporting third-party matchmaking software such as Gamespy, Renegade had a direct-connect command line method to join servers. You could bypass the normal way of connecting to a master server; most people never really knew about this and it only became popular once WOL started being so unstable.

With 9935 you certainly could've never owned Renegade, and yet still played. While the installers would generally complain, if you installed an early version and then patched up, you'd avoid the issue. With 1.0.0, also known as Beta, we wanted to officially be stand-alone. We had been building good relations with EA and the community and figured we'd take a shot at it; if anything went wrong I'd take all the flak for it. And so, that's what we did.

We're still working on being more-standalone, with our own configuration tools, rankings, auto-update system, and the like.There actually is already auto-update functionality built into the launcher, we've just not quite used it. The most it does right now is pull down the news from our site.


<IconOfEvi> Now I along with probably a lot of people (HeXetic I think seemed overjoyed tongue.gif) remembered seeing the first screenshots of APB with shaders in. How'd that come about?
<Chronojam> Well there have always been a lot of ideas that we have wanted done, but didn't have the time or manpower to really do. For example, the whole sidebar thing with chat history moved to its own anytime-accessible page. A while back, SilentKane and Scorpio were playing around with Renegade and D3d9 instead of D3d8, and a lot of people were getting interested with the whole graphical engine side of things.

It was neat stuff, and Saberhawk (whom I'd tracked down for unrelated utility development purposes) brought up the idea of looking into really bringing shaders to the table. Some people thought it was a dumb idea or a waste of time and effort; but hey, we had hired him so that we'd have spare time and effort for these kinds of things.

<IconOfEvi> Some people, lol

<Chronojam> And so despite whatever opposition, we talked about it, and I gave him the go-ahead, and then Jonwil got on-board with things (having Jonwil around had been cause for opposition too, but that's another story).

We showed off, early on, a new set of stealth effects that eventually were cut because they were rather slipshod and eventually replaced with superior effects (that unfortunately won't show for less powerful machines the way those early ones did).

But then of course we got fancier things. Some of the shaders' applications broke, such as using them with particles or terrain, and it was never resolved and thus cut. Bloom also had issues, and was cut. However I assure you that the next version will have fully functional bloom effects. Also, for those of you who see just black when you look towards a cloaked object, the next version also resolves that issue at long last.


<IconOfEvi> So then, What can you tell the community so far that you have planned for the next release of APB? The 1.0/Final Release of APB?
<Chronojam> Well 1.0.0 already happened, so you can't say such things anymore. It was the first official standalone version, I grew tired of the .99x nonsense and thought we needed something that at least pretended to make sense. The next release, as always, has a slew of bugfixes. As I alluded to already, there are graphics related bugfixes to be had, which means you also won't see the same set of disabling options in the launcher as you don't have much reason to disable certain things; they'll be pretty well tested and ready to go.

In terms of the launcher, we're doing it over (actually in another language as well) and will hopefully have support for flash videos (think YouTube but in the launcher), and make it more of a one-stop-shop for a new player.

We're going to also work in something to have servers announce their presence rather than requiring you to manually add them to the server list, I hope that's ready in time. I also want the launcher to be more or less THE place to go when you want to configure the game. Keyboard, audio, video, and every little setting you could ever want will all be set up there.


<IconOfEvi> Any direction you can divulge on those two? What is your aim with such a launcher? Make it a community hub of sorts?
<Chronojam> Well it's certainly already a place to get news but incorporating server rankings on the official servers and listing information on games in progress is a goal.

We had thought about doing a series of small video introductions for the units (long before TF2's) and also small mini-tutorials, but the present launcher didn't really support that. With the newer one, hopefully we can do small video segments.

We've also got new graphics and sounds for some of the base defenses, including the Turret (which looks great) and the Tesla Coil (taller and meaner than before).

There's really so much that I'm not even sure yet; Engineers detecting enemy minefields, drowning is no longer an instant thing, submarines can dive low to avoid incoming fire, infantry will all have unique voices and shouts...

<IconOfEvi> \o/

-----------------

<IconOfEvi> I know someone out there may want this addressed - but how do you feel about your umm...rivalry with CNC:Reborn?
<Chronojam> Quite a lot of history there, too. Some think it's a distraction, slows us down, or is bad for the community. Well, it can be. But, you'd be wrong to think it doesn't have a lot of upsides to it. We even lived under the same roof for a while, but Reborn's still quite a rebellious youth (despite being an older project overall).

Personally, there's much frustration to be had over a consistent failure to deliver. If it wasn't for the brand-name recognition/notoriety they have, I'd almost say it's time to ditch the name Reborn and start fresh. Reorganize, make a solid vision, and deliver a kickass Tiberian Sun FPS.

Right now our staff is more or less encouraged to leave them be.


<IconOfEvi> Yeah, you guys were merged at one point! How in hell did that happen?
<Chronojam> There's a few versions of that story. For me, I wanted a TS FPS, and they had a team. Brilliant! It was also a bit of a good-faith move to try to get both mods to cooperate a bit more when we were both in need of a little extra assistance.

Things were rocky though; the initial attempt ended up fracturing Reborn's leadership (oops).

The follow-up went as good as anybody could've hoped for, though, and they stayed with us for quite a long time. We've now been apart for just a bit over one year. Anyways, it was worth a shot. We'd joked about it on April 1sts enough times.

<IconOfEvi> So any chance of a merger again or are you guys pretty much off in your own separate directions for good?

<Chronojam> It was unfortunately the case back in the day and still is the case now: Reborn's got a lot of internal trouble to work out first. Some of that is why we split off peacefully before anything negative happened. Their set of team dynamics just would not mesh well with ours as this stage.


<IconOfEvi> Now also, Apocalypse Rising has been around for a while, but only recently did they join with you guys - what happened there?
<Chronojam> Our initial direct contact with Apocalypse Rising was actually somewhat negative. There was a bit of a conflict involving a Reborn team member trading bits of our then-under-wraps shader code and other things to an Apocalypse Rising member in exchange for hardware.

<IconOfEvi> !

<Chronojam> It was a bit of a scandal to be sure. I won't go into details but we more or less got over it, and then kept talking.

<IconOfEvi> And everything is going good now?

<Chronojam> We decided it would be a good idea to team up, and so did outside observers. Looks like people were right. The staff get along pretty well, and there's fairly free information and ideas exchange. During my recent stay in Hungary I actually got to meet and hang out with AR member dtrngd.


<IconOfEvi> Bluehell Productions. Tell me a little bit about that. Was it formed out of the desire to unify APB and AR under a unified structure, or what?
<Chronojam> We were sitting around in an AIM chat not doing too much as we'd already discussed the real business at hand, and decided we needed some kind of team name. "The APB Dev Team" just wasn't cutting it anymore. Well, Aircraftkiller thought that Emerald Studios would look good floating over some rendered water, and the rest of us didn't have any good ideas at the time. But it wasn't quite inspired and nobody really got behind the name, so to speak.

When it came time for APB and AR to come together, Tagdaze also approached me to discuss tagging along with a team of voice actors. We definitely needed a name for this crew, so eventually we came up with the name Bluehell Productions and everybody loved it.

<IconOfEvi> lol Bluehell

<Chronojam> Our favorite engine bug. It had personal meaning to us all, meaning to our fans, but yet sounded pretty good and was a great reference to our engine. An homage, if you will, to that cursed collision error that is actually fixed in the next version (our name won't be changing though).

TheAcesOfRazgriz drafted up a few logos, and eventually we tweaked the design to be what you see now. So you have it: Bluehell Productions, our new team name, which is a great thing to have since ModDB now has the ability to give your team a page with its own catch name and logo.

And I'm not kidding, if all goes as planned and there are no catches, no more bluehelling in future releases.

<IconOfEvi> !


<IconOfEvi> Bluehell PRODUCTIONS suggests that MAYBE something else is in the works somewhere down the far far road. Any clues?
<Chronojam> A 2D platformer with a name I can't even remember that takes place during the next world war.
<IconOfEvi> Wut! Thats very...unexpected...
<Chronojam> Or whatever else one of us comes up with. I was working on something based on forum character Operative Purple.

--------------

<IconOfEvi> Some random trivia and the future - favorite CNC game and a rough reason off the top of head why.
<Chronojam> Tiberian Dawn because it got me addicted. I still play it, and also the remakes Dawn of the Tiberian Age and Return of the Dawn.

<IconOfEvi> Gonna be buying Starcraft 2 or dunno?
<Chronojam> I'm buying six months of EVE instead

<IconOfEvi> Favorite food?
<Chronojam> Probably Hamburger Helper Lasagna or pork fried rice. All my food is my favorite food really. I love to eat.

<IconOfEvi> What does it sound like to you the dude is saying in Hell March? :>
<Chronojam> "Reach for power, reach up" which makes sense. Apparently I was wrong all these years, but that's still what it sounds like to me.

<IconOfEvi> How do you feel about the design and direction of Red Alert 3 so far?
<Chronojam> It's really too soon to tell for a lot of things. The concept art I've seen has been quite interesting, and the trailer also is rather interesting. I like how they're now finally making really inclusive naval combat a part of the game, it has been rather awkward in prior games/mods but looks like it's going to work well here, and building a base on land AND sea will provide new defensive strategies.

While the time travel thing feels a little like a cop-out, let's face it, how else were you going to get around some of the crazier events of RA2 and especially YR? In a way, to let the series proceed, it had to be done. And really, it's an ironic turn of events. Einstein used time travel to redo WW2, and now the Soviets are in much the same way. I hope they have an intro sequence that happens in a similar way.

As far as the sides are concerned, things sound and look good so far. I just hope they play it with a straight face, similar to how Metal Gear Solid is. YR got too "wacky look at that haha" but I feel that, if played up with the proper serious tone and not cheesed up, this will be a great experience.

I don't mind seeing Japanese mecha, as long as the Allies aren't going "look at that how zany haha" and are instead worrying about South Korean villages and loss of life, if you know what I mean.

<IconOfEvi> Okay, this is the situation. Tomorrow the Renegade source code arrives at your door. What do you do? What would you plan for APB?
<Chronojam> Call a certain somebody, with a grin on my face. Then, it's time to fix that damned netcode, isn't it? And the menus, and the texture handling, and the things that oddly just don't work in multiplay.

<IconOfEvi> Situation. Apoc stops by your door telling you only Reborn gets the source code because they like them better. What do you do?
<Chronojam> Call his bluff.
<Chronojam> OH OH
<IconOfEvi> ?
<Chronojam> Call his bluff. Then make him play Reborn for a while
<IconOfEvi> XD

<IconOfEvi> You're in university (or are you done?)! What did you go for?
<Chronojam> I graduated from WPI with a bachelor's degree in computer science a bit less than a week ago, on May 17th.
<IconOfEvi> Congrats!

<IconOfEvi> So what are your plans? Will you be using APB as reference materiel in case you go into the games or other industries?
<Chronojam> I'm moving to California and getting married in a couple of years. APB might be an interesting topic during an interview, it's on my CV. While I had the option to switch to an interactive media and game design major, I stayed with computer science. We'll have to see how it goes.

<IconOfEvi> Front page sez Venompawz and you will be moving in soon! Is this trues?
<Chronojam> Yep, just a couple weeks to pack my stuff up and ship it out. It's very exciting.

<IconOfEvi> Oh my God, I think I took enough of your time - thanks a lot Chronojam, and good luck on your mod and your future and fiancee!
<Chronojam> You're welcome, and thank you

This post has been edited by IconOfEvi: 27 May 2008 - 02:05 AM

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#3 User is offline   weston 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 05:07 PM

The "Our base is under A TACK" got me to chuckle. Good job icon, quite the news post.
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#4 User is offline   BoB 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 05:26 PM

Cool. Very.
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#5 User is offline   Rattuskid 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

Cool post, although I think Morbo would be the more appropriate anchor.
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#6 User is offline   killakanz 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE(IconOfEvi @ May 26 2008, 6:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Astonishing resemblance to Icon himself there tongue.gif
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